DoD using 14 entities as JEDI pathfinders as contract gets underway

Now that the Pentagon officially awarded the JEDI contract, the Defense Department is honing the timeline for its rollout, and choosing 14 entities to act as pathfinders for the cloud’s capabilities.

DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy says those entities — which include U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S Transportation Command and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center — will be the first to use JEDI on a more tactical level.

“These early adopters have unique missions that are more than just using JEDI for base compute, raw storage capacity, and want to do real unique platform-for-service opportunities on top of that,” Deasy said Thursday at the AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day in Arlington, Va.  “The variety of the early adopters allows us to test various principles on JEDI from the tactical edge all the way to the top secret needing to use the cross domain.”

Deasy said those adopters will allow DoD to learn quickly what it takes to go from the strategic vision to stand up and bring JEDI capabilities to life.

DoD wants to set up the unclassified side of JEDI by mid-February next year. The six months after that will be focused on setting up the secret capability for the cloud and then DoD will turn to top secret.

In order to get unclassified set up in the next two months, DoD has 60 to 70 services that need to be available on day one.

Deasy said there are meetings every two weeks working on making that happen.

JEDI also makes room for what Deasy called “the promise land” of true DevOps.

“It allows us to build an end-to-end tool chain of a whole new way we ought to build software going forward,” he said. “One of the big deliverables in 2020 will be not only standing up the JEDI infrastructure platform, but also standing up a capability of how we want to do DevOps.”

DoD will look across the services for ideas on how to set up its DevOps. Deasy said the Air Force’s Kessel Run is a good example of a role model for JEDI.

Kessel Run is a software shop that continuously delivers software and code to keep systems secure and up to date.

After a long battle over the award of JEDI, DoD finally settled on Microsoft as its partner in October.

The $10 billion contract is seen as a foothold in providing cloud services to the whole Pentagon, which led to the contentious battle over the award.

Though JEDI is not the DoD’s only contracting vehicle for cloud computing services, it is the biggest and most comprehensive to date.

“Over the last two years the Department of Defense has awarded more than $11 billion across 10 separate cloud contracts,” the department said in a statement this fall. “As we continue to execute the DoD Cloud Strategy, additional contracts are planned for both cloud services and complementary migration and integration solutions necessary to achieve effective cloud adoption.”

Amazon Web Services is currently protesting the JEDI award, alleging DoD source selection officials committed a series of errors that are impossible to understand without considering President Donald Trump’s personal intervention in the decisionmaking process.

The government has until Jan. 21 to respond to the lawsuit. In the meantime, DoD and Microsoft are free to move ahead with the contract since Amazon did not ask for a preliminary injunction that would stop work on the contract until the case is resolved.

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